1. #1
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    Question Must have items on new engine

    Our fire dept has recently started specing a new engine and I am the chairman of the committee. I was wondering what some of you think are the must have features on a new engine. We are mostly a rural area but our station sits along a main road (heavy truck traffic) and there are small towns to the north and south which most of the time we are on their second alarm.

    I need opinions on such things as a front bumper trash line, custom or commercial (we have enough $ for custom), preconnected blitz line, top or side mount, how much foam, ect.. We are looking for what works for you and what some good things to stay away from might be.

    This is our first new engine since '85 so as you can see the new one will be here for probably 20 years. I want our committee members to get some input from elsewhere in the fire community besides our own county here in western Pa.

    Thanks in advance

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    1) Get a custom chassis. With a GVWR that has room to grow over the 20yrs you expect to have the truck.
    1.5) Easy exit from cab with SCBA on. For your biggest guy on FD.
    2) Don't paint rollup doors. I personally like them but don't paint them.
    3) 12v scene lights to get you going until the hydraulic gen or diesel gen is up and running your 120/240v lights. Controlled from in the cab.
    4) Keep the generator if you have one out of the compartment.
    4.5)(Sorry) Get cord reels with portable lights attached for immediate use at night. Preconnected ready to hit the switch....no messing around. Lights allow us to not trip over something in the yard at 3am..... ones on reels allow us to put them out back.
    5) Light weight suction. (pretty obvious, but you can get them longer than 10ft sections and save space.
    6) If you are rural, get front/rear suction and have all needed tools for that operation at the front or rear.
    7) If rural and the engine will have folding tank, get the size that will allow your first in tanker to dump and run. No waiting to dump the last 300-500gallons left over.
    8) Figure out how you will supply the pump you spec and spec the hosebed / equipment to match. If you know your normal lay is 1000ft+ that one 4"LDH will not supply that new 2250gpm pump.
    9)Spare air bottle compartments in wheel wells.
    10)Arrow Stick traffic controller....
    11)Lots of reflective striping.
    12) RED, that is what God intended fire trucks to be.
    13) Q2B, 200w electronics and Grover Airhorns.... but they still won't here you at 10 foot away. (brain damaged people....)
    14)Get a copy of the NFPA 1901 Standard. Read it, put it down for 1 week and then read it again. Let it sink in and get to know it before you get too far down the road with dealers.
    15) See what the ISO people suggest you have for equipment and total pump capacity.
    16)TIC in truck mount charger.
    17) HORSEPOWER... you can't change it or add it later.
    18) Automatic transmission. If you have an auto in the 1985, the new ones are totally different.
    19) A/B foam system with enough B foam to at least make foam with your engine and tanker(s) onboard water.
    20) Whatever your department thinks it "MUST" have on the truck.
    21) Try to standardize location of equipment compared to the other vehicles if possible.

    Sorry for this being so long but I have to start thinking along the same lines myself.... if nothing more the items above will get the ball rolling.

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    Exclamation

    1. Like chiefdog said, horsepower and torque are important features, which you can not go back and change without huge costs! Better to allocate and spend the money now, rather than regret it later going up a large western Pa. hill. Spec a 60 Series Detroit, or a C-12 or C-13 Cat.

    2. Auxiliary Braking Devices: Nowadays a truly desirable, necessary feature, especially if you are in hilly western Pa! Many options are available these days- Engine Brakes such as the well known Jake (Jacobs) Engine Break, or the lesser known Blue Ox. There are also Retarders- Exhaust Retarders, which close off the exhaust and create back pressure (these are more common on smaller engines, such as 40 Series Detroits or "C" Series Cummins engines) Another brand of retarder is the Telma Electromagnetic driveline retarder. This is a system that is built in after the transmission- it's sort of like an electric motor in reverse. See http://www.telmainc.com/telma_htm/default.htm

    Like Chiefdog also stated, Transmissions are not the same! Which brings us to the last type of braking device, the integrated Hydraulic Transmission Retarder. All auxiliary braking devices have their pros and cons, and should be studied before making a decision!

    More Chassis/Driveline stuff:
    3. Specify high quailty components! You'll pay more at the beginning, but in the long run, high quality components plus good preventive maintenance equals lesser breakdowns/failures and less downtime!
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    When specing out the truck...remember this...

    the bitterness of poor quality remains long agter the sweetness of low price"
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    I'll just go through your list of what you are inquiring about, and then add a few other things.

    Bumper mounted trash line-On our newest engine, we have a compartment below the cross lays that holds 50' preconnected forestry hose, with another 100' that can be connected to that sitting below it. This sits on a pull out tray in the compartment for ease of packing. That might be a better idea, keeping somebody from walking in front of the truck, and leaves the bumper open for more important things, like a Q, electronics, lights, etc.

    Custom or Commercial Chassis-This one depends on what kind of horsepower and torque you want to create, and the seating configuration you want. If you want to be able to seat 5 guys in the back, you are going to want to go with a Commercial chassis, like a Pete, Kenworth, Sterling, etc. so that you can have the back half of the cab set up the way you want it. This also includes the means of egress from the cab when wearing turn-out gear and an SCBA. The bigger the back door, the easier it is to get out of the truck (who woulda thunk?).

    Preconnected Blitz Line-Now, are you talking a cross-lay, or another device such as a Blitzfire? We have at least two preconnected cross lays on each of our engines. Off the back, we have a 3" line preconnected to a Blitzfire.

    Top or side mount-Three of our four engines we have now are top mount, two of them, the twins, are enclosed top mount panels. This way, the operator is inside, out of the weather, and has a better chance of hearing the radio when the attack crew calls for water.

    Foam-We have almost completely switched over to using FireAde 2000 batch mixed in the tank, which has worked for us. Don't have to worry about buying an eductor.

    Now on to the things that ChiefDog stated.
    For a folding tank and suction, ladders, pike poles, etc., we have all of that mounted on top of our two big trucks, air operated, that swing down to the side. Kinda like a gullwing door, but they come down to the side instead of going up. Tank on one side, everything else on the other.

    On sirens. Do not go with JUST an electronic. The Q' moves traffic a lot better than ANY electronic EVER will. The only trucks we use an electronic on all the time are the ambulances and the command cars. With the ambulances, we get near intersections, we use the Q.

    On pumps. The bigger the pump, the better. You don't want to be stuck with only being able to put out 1750 when you need 2150 or better. It isn't very often that you are pumping at full capacity, but it is nice to have the ability to put more water on the fire with a bigger pump than a smaller one.

    And now the other things, like engines and trannys. Get the biggest engine you can. It might be considered over kill to have a bajillion horsepower, and gobs of torque, but with hills, you WILL need it. You don't want to be stuck going 15 mph up a hill to a fully engulfed structure. And then you need to get a tranny that can hold up with that kind of power. An auto tranny is your best bet.

    And as stated, get some form of engine retarder added on to the engine, if it doesn't already have one. Jacobs Engine Systems has two different types of retarders, and engine brake, which turns the engine into an air compressor by opening the exhaust valves as the engine nears top dead center, and an exhaust brake, which closes a butterfly valve in the exhaust to create back pressure. The engine brake is the one that makes my favorite sound, and you know which one that is. The exhaust brake is actually somewhat quiet.

    That's all for now. I have other stuff to do now.
    -Bozz

    Air Force Medic

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    We recently put a new engine in service so this is fairly fresh in my cluttered brain.

    I was fortunate enough to have a heavy equipment mechanic on my committee so we got extra in the powertrain area. Just like the others already stated, you can't add it later.

    The other guys made most of my points already, but one thing I didn't see mentioned was take into consideration your existing equipment that will be transferred to the new unit. Make sure they fit! We overlooked our larger airbags and had to do some serious srambling and adjustment from the envisioned layout plan to get them to fit.

    Take into account ergonomics (My 10 cent OSHA word of the day ) Think about the repetitive tasks you do with your engine, from climbing in and out to getting tools out of compartments to racking hose. Some things like seating and door size need to be designed for the largest guy, but on the opposite end of the spectrum your equipment mounting, etc needs to be for the smaller guys.

    Consider options such as drop-down shelves, pull-out tool board and roll-out trays. It helps to eliminate the awkward reaching into compartments for things and risking a back, shoulder, etc injury.

    Consider a headset system for the cab. Keeps the driver's hands on the wheel for times when the hot-seat is empty and it helps the crew hear what the IC's orders are first hand rather than relayed via 3rd party (it also doubles as hearing protection from road noise and warning device noise)

    Just a couple of thoughts....hope it helps a little bit

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    Actually with the big"3"engines you CAN add HP later.All the new engines are electrically controlled and "laptop"adjustable within 100-150 HP.CAUTION: If you buy a "detuned"big engine make sure you buy a big enough Allison automatic to withstand the END input torque.IE if you buy a Detroit 500hp "detuned" to 350hp make sure the tranny can stand the strain if you decide to dial it up.The new Allisons are really nice,adjustments(limited)to these can also be done electronically.Make sure you get enough compartmentization and adjustable boards/trays for future growth.We just got done building one,and as hard as you try,you'll find something you overlooked.Good luck,T.C.

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    As FFTrainer stated, make sure you make your compartments big enough for the equipment you have. We have two trucks that are almost identicle twins, that carry the same equipment, and the newer of the two has three compartments that are COMPLETELY empty.

    If I remember correctly, NFPA 1901 now states that all tools must be held down in some fashion. Your best bet is just to read through it a few times, know it from front to back.
    -Bozz

    Air Force Medic

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    Question

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by fdmhbozz

    Custom or Commercial Chassis-This one depends on what kind of horsepower and torque you want to create, and the seating configuration you want. If you want to be able to seat 5 guys in the back, you are going to want to go with a Commercial chassis, like a Pete, Kenworth, Sterling, etc. so that you can have the back half of the cab set up the way you want it. This also includes the means of egress from the cab when wearing turn-out gear and an SCBA. The bigger the back door, the easier it is to get out of the truck (who woulda thunk?).

    I do not want to get an argument started here but am I to understand that I can get a commercial chassis with more room than a custom? Every show that I have been to I have compared them both, I was to shows in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh this year. At the present time we are leaning towards a Spartan with either a flat or 10" raised roof. One of the reasons we like the custom is better turning radius. Iwas told by a FD in our county that has HME that "once you go custom you will never go back".

    Are there any of you out there that can enlighten me on this?

    Thanks!

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    In my experiences I have been in both a custom and a comercial cab. Here is a list of what I have observed...

    Custom cab

    1. Ease of entrance/exit
    2. Tool storage. I can put axes and the like inside the cab
    3. People space. We can put 6 people in the cab and have them put packs on with ease.
    4. Length. The total lenghth of the truck doesn't includ the engine sticking out of the front like on a comercial.
    5. Visibility. No hood or engine in the way of my eyes and the road.
    6. It just looks more like a fire truck

    Comercial cab
    1. Cramped quarters. Your punching your neighbor when trying to get the pack on.
    2. All my tools are in the compartments, no room in the cab.
    3. It looks like a firetruck wanna be.

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    I have been in so many fire trucks, it is hard to remember them all. But, since I spend most of my time in a commercial chassis, I know them the best and like them more. Here are my observations in my department alone, since we have both commercial and custom chassis.

    Commercial:
    - Easier to get out of a door that is full width, as compared to the doors on a Spartan, Pierce, HME, or other brand custom chassis.
    - In our newer rig, we have a pike pole, NY roof hook, two axes, and all of the EMS equipment we need to carry inside the Full ResponseŽ cab.
    - Since we have trouble being able to fully staff our rigs, we only need room for 5 firefighters total, including the officer and driver. There is not a single problem packing up in the cab.
    -Pump panel is fully enclosed, with plenty of windows for the pump operator to see everything.
    - Not really able to be considered ugly, like some of the custom chassis' (yeah, I'm talking about Pierce and Spartan).

    Custom:
    - Louder than a commercial chassis.
    - Not as much storage space inside for longer items like a pike pole.
    - Less visibilty from the top mount pump panel if enclosed, since the cab and the body are usually at the same height.
    - Some of them are just plain ugly.
    -Bozz

    Air Force Medic

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    I'm surprised no one has listed this yet:
    CAFS
    Spend the extra cash, and put fires out FAST! There is a video out from CAFSPRO (free, I might add), where they dark down a well involved house in 7 (yes, 7) seconds, with 14 gallons of solution. Why not jump to the front of the pack? BTW, Phoenix FD has just ordered 27 new engines, all with CAFS.

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    Thumbs up CAFS

    The only reason that I did not bring it up in my original post is because the idea was shot down in our first meeting. The main problem I have is that I am the only one in our whole department that has been to any fire shows! The rest of the committee is usually asking me questions and most of the times I have the answer. No one has seen it in action to know how well it performs and they are worried about maintenance issues. The other things that always comes up are "Do we really fight enough structure fires to justify it?" or "It wouldn't have done any good on the ______ fire because it was a total loss".

    You will not get an argument out of me that CAFS is the way to go but I have got a major uphill battle. Myself I will just be happy to have a good A/B system with enough AR-AFFF to do something.

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    Bozz,you gettin' your custom and commercials bass ackwards? I've NEVER seen a commercial with bigger doors than a custom.And quieter?Musta missed something here too.You could hold a party in our new Spartan,our commercials?Ha ha dress on arrival! In regards to the inquiry (not yours) on flat or ten raised I would VERY strongly recommend the ten inch raised. We didn't do Cafs but we did do class A&B with a Foampro 2001.T.C.

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    My .02

    1) Light Tower with dual tilt head - more bang for the buck

    2) As stated before, 12V Fixed scene lights, we have Havis Shield HID's that are cab controlled. When we pull on scene at night, there is general area lighting for FF's getting off the truck. Once on scene, the light tower goes up for specific task lighting.

    3) Hydraulic generator - Smaller physically, larger output, quiet and on with one button.

    4) Foam system. We originally were going to go CAFS as well, but decided to go with a Class A injection system.

    5) Stretch the cab and raise the roof. Gives the crew extra space and allows easier entry/exit.

    6) Air Conditioning

    7) Front bumper discharge. We have a 2 1/2" front discharge that is gated to a 1 3/4" car fire line and a 1" trash line.

    8) Leave room for future equipment.

    Click here for pics
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    Default paint color red no yellow yes

    One thing that might seem insignificant is the paint color. But it could end up saving lives. I am going to add a few links that you (and CheifDog) should definitely read. It is surprising that the NFPA would not specify that trucks should be painted yellow.


    http://www.scienceblog.com/community...199700494.html

    http://www.usroads.com/journals/aruj/9702/ru970203.htm

    http://www.ttnews.com/members/printE...27.97.tw5.html
    (It is about half way down the page on this site)





    You should read up on Dr.Solomon too. He knows what he is talking about when it comes to firefighting, sight, and color.
    This link is directly from Firehouse.com

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...218151-7032723
    Last edited by kensandiford; 08-13-2004 at 08:36 PM.

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    Lightbulb Must Haves----

    I teach a truck specification class at our college and am a local rep. for a major fire truck manufacturer, so I have a little to offer to you. Most everything has been covered, so I will just hit a couple of high points in my book:

    1. Front bumper/trash line: Must have!!!! Nothing is better for your firefighters safety than having the engine block the traffic. There are a lot of idiots out there who get blinded by the pretty flashing lights. A reel in the back just endangers your men by putting them into harms way.
    2. Lights, lights, lights: If there is one place to splurge, then please make it lighting. Extra lights in the rear. An arrowstick gets high marks. Led's on the inside of the doors, so that when a door is opened the light flashes to the rear of the truck. Intersection lights, since there are a great deal of accidents occuring in intersections.
    3. Q2B: Nuf said!!
    4. Save the space and get the hydralic generator. Lighting on cord reels is a great time saver also.
    5. Last but not least!!!: For goodness sake, throw out the lowest bid---YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!!! Be demanding with spec. compliance.
    PS: Nobody will see your truck because it is this color or that color. You will be lucky if they notice the lights and siren(s). That being said, if it ain't red--then it ain't a fire truck!!!
    Last edited by efd281; 08-15-2004 at 11:05 PM.

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    efd281 read the links. Statistics don't lie. Also less lights are better more lights are more distracting

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    Originally posted by kensandiford
    efd281 read the links. Statistics don't lie. Also less lights are better more lights are more distracting
    I disagree with the lights......... I know that with our 1989 Sutphen engine, we added lights and it makes a world of difference because you couldn't see it before. I'm not saying you need to have the thing covered in lights, but you do need an adequate amount. Stick with the NFPA recommendations. I think that is generally good enough, but I would highly suggest you look at LED lights. They are much more visible, both during the day and at night, and have less amp draw.........

    I would suggest 3 LEDs on each side (reds at front and rear and amber in the center), 2 red LEDs in the front (along with headlight flashers), 4 LEDs in the rear (2 red, 2 amber), 2 rotators at the top rear, and whatever lightbar you choose (we use MX7000's or our new squad is getting the new Whelen that is similar to the MX7000).........

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    By chance was that lighting study done in California? It is also a proven fact that SCENE lighting prevents accidents WITHOUT being distracting. T.C.

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    Originally posted by kensandiford
    efd281 read the links. Statistics don't lie. Also less lights are better more lights are more distracting
    NFPA 1901 is completely wrong? I don't think so Tim...(kensandiford)

    If you really want to see a truck look at the reflective chevron patterns that some trucks now have. Slimegreen is not the answer. The lights that cover all areas of approach and reflective stripes have done more for firefighter safety than any slime green paint.

    And the most important factor is the public! Driving down the road worried about everything else but driving, talking on cell phones, doing their hair, reading, God knows what else and you think flashing lights are distracting?? If the public was paying attention we would not need lights, sirens or special paint colors to get their attention because we would already have it.

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    ChiefDog

    Do me a favor, humor me and read the links I have provided. It will take you all of five minutes. If you can show me facts that rebut mine I will consider them and possibly change my opinion. But please condier my facts before reaching your own opinion

    I agree with you that people have to pay more attention when driving. But if you are implying that we can not mke them pay more attention I think science has proven you wrong. Varying colors respond to the brain more effectively than others they are seen faster than other colors and provoke different thoughts than others. Science has proven that we respond to lime yellow faster than red and see more of an association of caution to lime yellow than red. Driving to the scene is one of the most dangerous aspects of the emergency workers job. It should be given proper consideration.

    Are the chevrons effective during the day or only at night?

    As for lights if you interpret me as saying that emergency vehicles should have no lights at all, that is wrong. I am saying that people should just watch that they do not go overboard with the lights. Here is an excerpt from one of the links I have provided. It is Dr. Solomon speaking on lights


    Another response has been to stud the vehicle all over with flashing lights. "Emergency flashing lights are not as effective as imagined," he noted. "The more lights you have on a truck the less effective they are."

    Flashing strobe lights are even worse, he said, because at night they blind motorists who after exposure have trouble readjusting to the darkness.


    I agree that we should hold strong to traditions; but when science can prove that doing so effects safety, science should prevail. Could someone please explain to me how people can overlook saving lives by not informing themselves on a subject they think is silly or trivial. I thought that was what we were supposed to be doing here. And the simple facts are that painting your trucks lime yellow over any other color could very possibly save a life. That is a chance that I would take.

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    I don't want this thread to go off on a thorny path that does not answer the original question(s) by the original thread starter.

    It was a general what options would you suggest...

    Debating the lime green vs. Red will get us no place fast.

    I will ask you some questions. When you were growing up what color did you think fire trucks were? How many people when they hear a Q2B think fire truck? How many people when they hear an electronic siren think police or ambulance? I would call them learned responses to emergency vehicles. Would you call Phoenix a progressive department? I would think that Chief Brunnacini (sorry if I got the spelling wrong) would be considered a quite progressive chief that pays attention to what science can do for the fire service. (Chairman of NFPA 1500 committee I believe) They have red over white trucks last I saw in the magazines.

    All the science will not change the learned response from childhood that big red trucks with flashing lights are fire trucks.

    I do agree that trucks that look like UFOs landing go the other way.

    But with this lets agree to disagree.

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    There have been several subsequent studies to the Slime vs Red original.This subject has been discussed at some length on these forums.In a nutshell lime yellow isn't all it's cracked up to be nor does it signify instant recognisition of an emergency vehicle,particularly a Firetruck.There's plenty of ignorance to go around,John Q will run into a yellow rig just as fast as he will a red one.All of the studies are subjective,and area/locality dependent.What works in Dallas,may not in Portland Ore.What works in Portland may not work in Boston.If it was a finite fact that Lime yellow was vastly superior as a color, EVERY Fire apparatus in the USA would be painted that color.Since it is NOT a finite fact,mine will be Red and white colors;thank you very much.For almost any study one wants to produce there will be another OPPOSING study or view.I'm just disappointed that I'm not making the gobs of money these thinkers are by trying to REGULATE the way we do business.As a majority most have never seen Emergency equipment up close,much less responded on or near one.Chevrons work great night or day as do arrowstiks and leds,some of the less intrusive lighting packages available.But if you turn on and set up your scene lights at night,it even takes the "sharp"edge of the strobe by providing a background lighting of constant illumination.Any strobe pack made by Whelen has a day/night feature built in which can be run by switch or photoeye which reduces the output upwards of 40-50%.There is a reason NFPA advises a certain amount of lighting and from what I've seen,I would call the modern systems quite effective,particularly for those of us in the rural setting.T.C.

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    By all means, get cafs if you can afford it

    Hydraulic generator - same amps as diesal, much quieter. There is enough noise at a fire scene without adding the noise of a 3cyl kubota.

    I haven't seen anyone mention ONSPOT or other "automatic" drop chains. In areas that get snow, they work well. Really deep snow might require real chains, but at that point you should have a plow truck in front of you.

    Kussmaul or similar shoreline battery charger/air compressor. One cord does it all.

    Especially if looking at a custom chassis, give independent front suspension and disc brakes a good, hard look. They've come a long way, baybeeee!

    I've seen someone else post on these new truck threads - get as many demos close to the truck you want in to your department.

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